Thursday, August 19, 2010

Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936)


Seventy-four years ago today, on Aug 19, 1936, Fascist troops in the army of Francisco Franco executed the Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca. The execution is assumed to have occurred near the town of Viznar in Spain; Lorca's remains have never been identified. Though the precise reasons for Lorca's murder remain murky, his homosexuality, liberalism, and nonconformity -- all great enemies of reactionary politics -- almost certainly played parts in his death.

Earth
We walk on
an unsilvered mirror,
a crystal surface
without clouds
If lilies would grow
backwards,
if roses would grow
backwards,
if all those roots
could see the stars
& the dead not close
their eyes,
we would become like swans.
(1923)

In 1986, Leonard Cohen translated "Little Viennese Waltz" and set it to music as the song "Take This Waltz" (side-by-side lyrics and standard translation here). The song reached #1 in Spain and appears on Cohen's 1988 album I'm Your Man. It has become a staple of his live performances.

5 comments:

Roy said...

Ah! My morning dose of culture - Federico Garcia Lorca and Leonard Cohen. Thanks, K, I needed that!

K. said...

My pleasure! Premium T. is still fanning herself over the events of 4:10 on in the video. Come to think of it, I'm a bit warm myself!

Shaw Kenawe said...

How did I miss this post? I am a great admirer of Garcia Lorca. I especially love:

Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias

K. said...

The imagery is amazing. He must have a major childhood trauma one day at 5pm! I hope you liked the video.

Tough game for the Sox tonight. My mama told me there'd be days like this...

T. Clear said...

Still swooning.